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‘Peterloo’ First Look: Mike Leigh Recreates the 19th Century Massacre For His 13th Feature Film

The English writer-director returns to the 19th century.

"Peterloo" Mike Leigh

“Peterloo”

Simon Mein/Amazon

New Mike Leigh is just around the corner. Amazon Studios has debuted the first official look at the writer-director’s new drama, “Peterloo.” The movie marks the thirteenth feature of Leigh’s career and recreates the infamous English massacre that took place on August 16,1819.

The event saw nearly 60,000 people from Manchester protest Parliament in St. Peter’s Fields. The group was seeking to reform voting rights, but the peaceful protest turned deadly. 15 people were killed and approximately 700 were injured by an armed militia. The event turned hostile after one officer attempted to arrest one of the protest’s leaders.

In the first look photo from “Peterloo” above, famed British orator Henry Hunt addresses the crowd of reformers as they gather at St. Peter’s Field ahead of the traumatic events. Rory Kinnear, best known in the U.S. for his role as Bill Tanner in the Daniel Craig-led Bond movies, stars as Hunt. Leigh started filming the movie in May 2017. The film will be the director’s first since “Mr. Turner” opened in 2014.

“There has never been a feature film about the Peterloo Massacre,” Leigh said as production began. “The universal significance of this historic event becomes ever more relevant in our own turbulent times.”

Leigh premiered his last two features — “Mr. Turner” and “Another Year” — at the Cannes Film Festival, and he could be readying “Peterloo” for a May birth on the Croisette. Amazon Studios has become a dominant player at Cannes over the last two years, premiering titles such as “Cafe Society” and acquiring films like “The Handmaiden” and this year’s “Wonderstruck,” among others.

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